21 answers

Grandparents Favor Other Grandchidlren

My request is about grandparents and aunts/uncles. We live away from all our family. Our son is one of 5 grandchildren total, but is our only child.

Both my parents and my husband's parents favor the grandchildren who live in closer proximity to them. My sibling doesn't say much about it and it isn't really an issue on my side. I see it more as, if we lived closer to my parents they would know our child better and be more involved.

However, my husband's parents are pretty blatant with their favoritism and my husband's sibling pretty much rubs our noses in it whenever the opportunity arises. My husband's parents do come visit about 3-4 times yearly but always talk about and call their other grandchildren when they visit, sometimes daily.

Those grandchildren live about 5 minutes from them when they are at home. My husband's sibling and his parents also talk non stop about all the gifts and things they do for these children, which is way beyond what they do for our child. (example: motorized kids' cars, baby furniture, etc. for the other grandchilden.)

At first we didn't care, but as our child gets older, we are basically tired of hearing about it. We would rather operate on don't ask don't tell philosophy, but they seem to be telling us to purposefully get a rise out of us, especially my SIL and MIL. So far we have remained silent on the issue and taken the high road.

Has any one else experienced this and if so what did you do and did it work or backfire?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the great stories, advice and such. We are not worried what gifts our son receives, but we are concerned about the apparent competitive nature of these relationships and how that will influence him or make him feel as he gets older. That's why we want to resolve it now before he starts to pick up on it. We just want our son to be loved for who he is.

We have decided to 're-direct' conversations that have this tone or content from now on, and if my MIL or SIL continue with the competitive or blatant talk of gifts and comparisons, my husband will address it himself to them, alone, so I am not blamed. Also both of them tend to be pretty confrontational even with my husband so we think this will work best and cause the least amount of 'drama'.

Yes, we do send a lot of videos and photos via emails as well as weekly phone calls to update all the grandparents so we don't think feeling connected is the issue here, but thanks for all the photo web site suggestions.

We think it is a competitive issue, or jealousy, but couldn't care or say where it stems from, we just don't want it put onto our son.

Thanks ladies, all the advice is helpful.

Featured Answers

Hello.

I am so sorry to hear about this unfortunate situation. It is a very difficult one. I myself growing up had aunts and uncles who favored other cousins, with gifts, etc and they do it still to my children today. Although I was able to sever ties a bit with them, I still never forgot how it felt. HORRIBLE! These are things you remember as a child.

I can tell you what my friend's mother did because her case was a bit more extreme. My friend's father died when she was a child. Her mother later remarried and becan to have more children. The first husbands family was quite wealthy. Because the gifts were so big and obvious that were coming to the eldest daughter, she finally told them, you love all of us, or none of us...this is part of my oldest daughter's family now, and you cannot keep showing special treatment. When given the choice, the grandmother chose all of them, and they all had a pretty good relationship after that.

Maybe if you gave them this choice they would see the light? I really wish you luck.

Take care~
Lee

I am in the same situation you are. My girls are 5 and 2, my parents have 10 grandkids all together, we moved from Ohio to Tn. When I call home I am always hearing about my sisters 3 kids. I have told my mom that she has other grandkids, not just them, she said we are just jealous of each other, that's not the case, I just get tired of hearing my sister's daughter is so smart or her son did this. So I told my mom when she decided to talk about something other than them, then to call me, which she has not done. I realize I can't change them, so til she realizes I meant what I said things won't change.
All you can do is confront them and tell them how you feel, they may not like it and may say things like my mom did, but you just go on and hope one day they will open their eyes.

My parents have not seen my girls in almost 3 years. My parents came down here when my youngest was 4 months old, but I am the one who has to pack the kids up and go to Ohio, I have decided I was not going to do that anymore, cause its always my niece and nephews when we do go, my mom spent about a full day with my girls out of 3 weeks up there. You just got to tell them how you feel, how else will they know.

More Answers

We have the same sort of issue with my in-laws. My parents are fine and my siblings act fine toward our son, but my sister in law and mother in law are a whole different story!

They do the same to us your in laws do to you.

We are constantly told how many gifts, clothes, toys, and special things the grandparents do for the sister in laws children, by the SIL, and not in a nice way. Our mother in law also makes sure we know all that they do for the other grandkids.

We see it as pretty juvenile for adults to act that way.

Although we have never found the reason, we simply take the high road. Our son knows he is loved and is surrounded by people who love him daily--US!

We wake him up with smiles and tickles every morning and that is how he is loved until he goes to bed. His grandparents also live far away, but very close to my hubby's sister.

I think it is just a way for them to try to anger you or maybe get your husband's attention.

Continue to take the high road. It's not the easiest approach, but the most important thing is your son and his feelings, never lose focus of that.

You cannot control how others act toward you, but you can control your reaction.

Good Luck, this is a sticky situation.

1 mom found this helpful

My heart breaks for your son. I was one of those children. My sisters and I were not the favored grandchildren on either side of my family. We had no close relationships with our grandparents at all. And we longed for that. We saw all of our friends talking about their grandparents, and it made us feel horrible that we weren't like that with ours.

One of my grandmothers favorite things would be to say things to us about our weight. I would think to myself as a teenager..."you haven't seen us but once this year and all you can comment on is our weight".... That was hard.

Harder still is when we did see them at christmas, my cousin would open a real fur coat from my grandmother, and we would open keychains. Right there, face to face, grandchild discrimination.

Our family was nice and we smiled when we heard about all the things they did for others. In the end, we grew up, and as we had successes in our life, my grandmother who treated us the worst, began to be remorseful. She didn't give us anything like she did my cousins, but she did start to try and build a relationship with us. Which to me was more precious.

I understand your frustrations, but your problem is so complex. If you stay on the high road, you must know that you will hear these things, and it is up to you whether or not you allow it to hurt you.

Depending on the relationship built between you and your SIL and MIL, mention to them what your concerns are. If you have a good relationship and you are geniune and accurate in your expression of the problem, they should take it to heart and maybe change how much bragging they are doing. Chances are they don't realize it is hurting you.

However, a word of caution. If the relationship is not that solid, let your husband be the one to speak with them about it. One on one, away from you. You don't need lashing out and screaming over this type of issue.

The most important thing in all this is to make sure your son doesn't get hurt when he realizes how he is being treated. I pray you find peace in all this.

R.,
I've read this post a few times and while I don't have this exact problem, I can give you a little of what I think or what I would do on this and it's to avoid conflict for later or maybe even to help alleviate a situation that could really turn ugly and potentially scar the relationships with your MIL and SIL for yrs.
I would distance myself from the sister and mother in law and do what i could to dodge their calls to get the point across and you would definitely have to express this to your husband. It sounds like there may be some jealousy from your sister in law aimed indirectly at you for some reason. If your husband is the only boy in the family and he's in a successful job for instance, then the sister in law could be jealous of that. Just by the way you've described this situation that's what it sounds like to me and the only thing that may make sense as to why they are trying to get a rise out of you.
When you distance yourself from talking on the phone or not seeing them even when you have a chance, you are sending them a message and they will understand what you are doing and will just be glad to talk to you to say hi over time . I am 30 something now with a 3.5 yr. old and my only sibling is in HOuston, TX. My parents live about 30 minutes away and get to see my daughter quite a bit compared to my brother's child. My sister in law has expressed in her own little way some jealousy towards me, it's hard to explain and it's just one of the little things you have to tolerate about family, it's inevitable but it can be controlled. My MIL has only 1 son and I'm married to him and I think she purposely keeps herself at a distance from me so as to avoid conflict. She'll call me about once a month if that or will call if she has a pressing question and it's never about little things. I respect her so much for that so I can see where you are coming from on this. It's hard to have a child when there is no family around, we did it down in ATLANTA, GA for 5 yrs. and got lonely for the most part, now that we are back closer to family, it's still hard but it's nice to have that family support should there be an emergency. I find that the older I get, the more my Mom wants to control my situation and so I just don't give her a chance, it's not worth all the bickering and hard feelings, life is too short for that, so you have to purposely distance family, my husband and I are pretty good at it, because we know the problems it can cause if we don't. If you want to chat more, feel free to call ###-###-#### or e-mail me at ____@____.com We live in Knoxville, TN. Let me know how it works out :)

Sincerely,
D.

Your husband needs to be the one to address it, and he can basically just say that he understand they are closer to the other grandkids and that although it doesn't bother him, you don't want it to hurt your son's feelings down the line. So it would be better if they kind of kept the discrepancy on the down-low in the future. If they balk at doing that, then yeah, they are trying to irritate you. Then you will have to teach your son that life isn't fair and people can be unintentionally mean sometimes. It is a good (albeit hard) lesson to learn.

I guess my first question would be when they visit you guys do they take special things for your son on those visits? I live away from my family with my two girls also and I know and understand that my family has a closer relationship and bond to those grandchildren that live around them. I am sure if they lived close to your son they would have a special bond with him as well. It is hard to have a bond with kids that you only see a couple of times a year, you really don't know their personalities or what they like. If it bothers you that much, the best thing to do would speak up about it, depending on how your in laws are and how they would take your feelings about the situation. Just remember it is not the material things a child recieves it is the love.

I can sympathize since I am going through a similar situation myself. In your case, I think it may be a passive agressive way of letting you know that if you lived closer then you would have that closeness. I am not saying that is right in any means but maybe if you approached it from that point of view with your mother-in-law, she would stop and see your side. If you don't have the type of relationship where you can speak openly with her, then it is definitely your husband's job to do this. Whether your MIL and SIL know it or not, their behavior is stemming from unspoken feelings, possibly about you not living close, and that behavior is destructive when it makes you and your family feel bad.

Good luck!

Hello.

I am so sorry to hear about this unfortunate situation. It is a very difficult one. I myself growing up had aunts and uncles who favored other cousins, with gifts, etc and they do it still to my children today. Although I was able to sever ties a bit with them, I still never forgot how it felt. HORRIBLE! These are things you remember as a child.

I can tell you what my friend's mother did because her case was a bit more extreme. My friend's father died when she was a child. Her mother later remarried and becan to have more children. The first husbands family was quite wealthy. Because the gifts were so big and obvious that were coming to the eldest daughter, she finally told them, you love all of us, or none of us...this is part of my oldest daughter's family now, and you cannot keep showing special treatment. When given the choice, the grandmother chose all of them, and they all had a pretty good relationship after that.

Maybe if you gave them this choice they would see the light? I really wish you luck.

Take care~
Lee

HI R.,

I am sorry to hear about your situation. I personally have not experienced this issue. But, I do have twin nieces that are 3 years old. One of them look like the mother and the other one looks like the father which is my brother. However, it seems to me that the twin that favors the mother gets more attention from the mother's side of the family than the twin that favors the father. For example, they will pick up and take one twin out for the day (the one that favors the mother) but will not take the other twin.

I even asked why do they let this happen and mother's response is that they do not have to be together all of the time. Okay, that's true, but if they were my children, I would not let someone favor one child and not the other, especially at that age (children do not understand). Besides, it is not fair.

So for you case, I would just ignore their ignorance and foolishness. Oneday, your child will grow up to realize how things really are and will choose to deal with them accordingly. Who knows, your child maybe grow up to be some big time celebrity or successful hot shot and he will remember the ones that were there for him and you will see how quickly they will want to be apart of his life then.

Hope this at least make you feel better.

T

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.